When I was planning my wedding, a dear friend of mine forced me to read The Mason Jar Manifesto. To summarize, it is basically a plea to brides-to-be to stop worrying about all the details and to wake up and realize what lies at the heart of a wedding – two people who fell in love.
What does this have to do with parenting? Let me tell you.
In today’s world of Pinterest/DIY/have it all/be it all, it is becoming more and more challenging to be a parent and easier to get overwhelmed. How about we take a step back, and remember what is truly important. You are responsible for a tiny, living, breathing, human being. As soon as that little bundle was placed in your arms, you became a parent. Although, truth be told, it has been said that a woman becomes a parent the moment she becomes pregnant; a man, the moment the baby is born. Take that for what you will.
Before I had my daughter, I spent the majority of my relatively easy pregnancy reading every book that was suggested to me, I researched various topics ad nauseum, and we set up a beautiful nursery and filled her closet with all the essentials. I heard myself repeat the phrase, “They say….” or, “This book tells you….” more times than I’d like to admit.
And guess what. I brought that baby girl home from the hospital and had absolutely no clue what to do next. It was scary… no, terrifying, to say the least. She cried….a lot. We tried everything that “they said,” to try to no avail. And one day, it just stopped. She started smiling, sleeping longer stretches, and really interacting with us. But, oh, the smiling. You don’t know true love until your baby gazes up at you and smiles a goofy, toothless grin. I melted. I still melt. This… this is love. This makes the nine months of pregnancy more than worth it. This, is what I live for each day.
For some reason, not a single book explained this. Maybe because it can’t be explained—it has to be felt.
What I’m trying to say, is when you’re overwhelmed at those moms who are handcrafting personalized burp rags, or painting murals on nursery walls, or cooking three course meals with a newborn….stop. Stop putting yourself down. There were days when taking a shower felt like an accomplishment. There were (okay, still are) days when getting dressed means changing out of pajamas into yoga pants. There were days when I was convinced I couldn’t do it. And then, she smiled. “They” say this time goes by so fast, and I really am starting to see that.
Stop worrying about cooking dinner. Stop worrying about what the other moms are up to. Start enjoying every minute of this crazy, tumultuous, roller coaster of a ride called motherhood.
You won’t look back and regret the laundry not being folded or the dishes staying in the sink longer than they should. You will look back and regret not spending those precious times with your little one.
Confession: I can count on one hand how many home cooked meals we have had since my baby was born, but oh, that smile…..